Inspiring Life-long Learning for 25 Years
Earlier this year, twelve students of the 7th cycle of the Applied Arts Program of Fiber Craft Studio in Chestnut Ridge, NY presented their final projects and received a certificate of completion. Among them was our Grades' Handwork Teacher, Nicole Griffith.
Nicole Griffith from the Da Vinci Waldorf School in Illinois, spent a full season gathering local native dye materials in Illinois and dyed yarn with her harvest to knit a shawl. Her documentation of her findings through this activity alone would have been a great accomplishment; however, to that she added the challenge to develop a meditative practice for her students while knitting. Guided by the verse: ”Seek a truly practical, material life, but seek it in such a way that it doesn’t dull you to the spirit who is active in it”, she created a beautiful shawl with her plant dyed yarns.
"It has been a long walk down a very long road to come to this moment of gathering thoughts for a final paper and putting finishing touches on a culminating project. And yet it really feels like a start instead of a finish line. I have always longed for the rules in life, rules to dutifully follow so that I might be safe and perhaps successful in life. Taking on the handwork training, signified learning the rules, the ‘how to’ instructions; a road map to success and accomplishment while doing GOOD WORK. These rules, recipes and patterns are the material aspects, the rock upon which I hoped to stand in the classroom. At first, I thought that attainment of these skills was to be the end goal, the finish line. Yet it is the connection with the spirit realm, the unseen forces that has to be the necessary goal. Learning of this connection has been a struggle. I’ve never truly committed to a church home or a spiritual practice, yet the deep need to do so has always been there. Being in Nature and coming to Anthroposophy through Waldorf education has been a balm. Connecting heaven and earth, substance and spirit in the Handwork classroom has been a gift. A gift I am only just coming to know.
As a result of this project I have come upon a method I intend to rely on in order to contemplate the students in my handwork classrooms. I may change the form the knitted garment may take, simplifying it further, but I feel it is a useful method for meditation and listening. I am grateful for the challenge of this research project because it brought me these excellent results."